Blasphemy and more on You Tube

Did you catch Virginia Heffernan’s “column”:http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/27/arts/television/27heff.html?em&ex=1180497600&en=ec72a7f19c5d4fb6&ei=5087%0A about You Tube in the NYT’s Arts & Leisure section on Sunday?

She wrote about some of the “most fascinating worlds to get lost in” on You Tube, including the world of blasphemy.

I guess I don’t spend enough time checking about what people put on You Tube, especially the “religious” content.

Honestly, I mostly go there to check out old video footage of musical heroes like Otis Rush and Sam & Dave. What do I know?

Heffernan writes that 1,200 people have posted blasphemy videos. What are blasphemy videos, you ask. They are videos of people reciting the line “I deny the Holy Spirit,” and sometimes adding on their own observations.

It’s all part of a challenge — the “Blasphemy Challenge”:http://www.blasphemychallenge.com/ — that has been put forth by the Rational Response Squad.

So I did a search for “blasphemy” on You Tube and sampled the results.

I watched a middle-aged, rather eloquent chap say, “Whether awake or asleep, I deny the Holy Spirit in every way.”

I watched a young, Asian woman use more than a bit of profanity to denounce the Holy Spirit and all forms of God.

I watched a funny, African-American gentleman deny the existence of not only the Holy Spirit, God and Jesus, but many, many other things.

And there are 1,000 more.

What does it mean? Probably nothing more than this: there is some of everything on the Web. And anything that can be filmed — any kind of pledge or statement or oath — will show up on You Tube. And lots of people don’t mind making their parents really angry (unless they know their parents will never, ever check out You Tube).

Gary Stern

Gary Stern covered education in the Lower Hudson Valley for several years during the early 1990s. Now's he back on the beat. He believes that schools are one of the main reasons that people live around here and that educational issues -- from curriculum to financing -- are among the most challenging things that journalists can write about. He continues to be amazed by the complexity of educational jargon. Gary got his B.A. at SUNY Buffalo and his M.A. from the University of Missouri Journalism School (where his master's thesis was about the best ways to cover education). He lives in White Plains with his wife and two sons, who attend public schools.